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Soils Have A Role In Winter Too
December 31, 2019

Chilling sub-zero temperatures. Astounding snowfalls. The weather outside is frightful. Yet under the snow and frost, life in soils carries on! Soils Matter, Soil Science Society of America’s science-based blog, provides insights to soils in winter and the organisms that live there.

In our gardens and elsewhere, snow-covered soils are still active with life. Credit: M. Pings.

• Although it might look bleak down on the ground, there is an abundance of life still active in the winter. From frogs that make their own antifreeze to tiny microbes that still function in subzero weather, there’s a lot going on underfoot. Read more about What happens to soil in winter.

• The Antarctic has year-round frozen ground. But researchers have found unique microbes living in the soil. Learn more about this unique and amazing frozen ecosystem.

• For those areas fortunate enough to have some snow cover, plants will be protected. Snow serves as a soil insulator, protecting the roots and organisms within. Additionally, snow minimizes the heave from the freeze-thaw cycle, keeping roots and infrastructure in place. Read more about why a good snow cover is best for plants.

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